Nature & Awareness

Climate Change Is Going To Make Your Beer More Expensive

It’s definitely a threatening and hard to accept news that climate change is going to have it’s adverse effects on beer drinkers as this change is making a burden on it’s production and supply related process. Nature is the real reason behind every production and for beer the optimum raw goods or products are quite getting depleted or they have been damaged.

By the end of this century, the study predicts, heat waves and droughts that damage barley will happen once every three years or so, leading to a roughly 16% drop in beer consumption compared to today.


Beer accounts for about 17% of worldwide barley production (livestock feed is another major use). In a future where global warming raises atmospheric temperatures over land about 5 degrees Celsius (about 9 degrees Fahrenheit) — the current “business as usual” track for the world — barley supply will drop around 15% by the end of the century.

The shortfalls will only hit in “extreme” years when both drought and lengthy heatwaves punish barley-growing parts of the world, according to the scientists’ models. And in those years, prices will roughly double.

The price will increase unevenly around the world, hitting harder in countries that depend on imports, like Ireland, where it will nearly triple, followed by other European countries, Canada, and Japan. Such increases will happen more often as we get closer to the end of the century. “It could happen next year, of course,” Mueller said. “It just loads the dice to happen more with each year.”

As the world’s largest overall consumer of beer, China would show the biggest national drop in beer consumption, drinking 4.34 billion fewer litres of beer each year. Even the United States — a rare case of a country actually producing more barley after climate change — would also see a decrease in national beer consumption, as it would be exporting more barley than it ever has before.

Meanwhile Ireland would see the biggest absolute price increase of the countries studied, with the price of beer going up by almost US$5 per 500 millilitre bottle, tripling the cost. That’s because changes in price are partly influenced by consumers’ willingness to pay — and Ireland is the world’s largest consumer of beer on a per person basis.

Other countries like the Czech Republic have cheaper beer to begin with, but could see a huge relative rise in price of more than 600%.

Even under the best-case scenario, globally, the model predicted a 4% reduction in beer consumption and a 15% increase in price.

Klaus Hubacek, an ecological economist at the University of Maryland in College Park, says the study does a good job of combining climate, agriculture and economic models. He wonders how other alcohol crops might be affected, and whether beer drinkers might switch to cider or other alcoholic drinks.

Even in the (increasingly unlikely) scenario in which global temperature increases are kept under 2 degrees Celsius, global beer consumption will drop 4% on average, and prices will increase by 15%, the study found. The worse the emissions in the future, the researchers say, the more the price of beer will rise. Other experts agree.

“Undoubtedly, it will cost more,” agricultural economist Gerald Nelson, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, who was not part of the study, told BuzzFeed News. “The bottom line is we are already below adequacy on a whole lot of food, and it is not going to get better,” he said.


But Nelson questioned some of the assumptions in the beer study, suggesting that its emphasis on years with extreme droughts and heat waves may miss the overall effects of higher temperatures on barley and other food. Higher temperatures alone may lead to lower nutrient levels in crops, for example, or alter their health. “It will affect everything,” he said. “We may figure out how to keep barley yields high, but it will be lousy barley, and it will still make crappy beer.”

Agricultural economist Johan Swinnen of the LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance at the KU Leuven in Belgium was more skeptical that barley price increases would squeeze up the price of beer.

Distribution, marketing, packaging, monopoly pricing by large brewers in some markets, and taxes are much more important in determining beer prices now, Swinnen told BuzzFeed News, by email. “So even a significant increase in the barley price would not in itself have a major effect on the cost of beer.”

Major beer markets like the US and China favor beers whose major input is rice, added Swinnen, author of Beeronomics: How Beer Explains the World. “It seems to me that the future demand for grains for animal feed, human food and biofuels will more likely be a more important determinant of grain prices, and thus the cost of malting barley,” he said.




Pure water is essential to good beer – and brewers pay scrupulous attention to the source and purification of their brewing water. The water used in brewing is purified to rigidly set standards. If it doesn’t have the proper calcium or acidic content for maximum activity of the enzymes in the mash, it must be brought up to that standard.


World famous Canadian barley is used to make brewers’ malt. To make malt, grain is first allowed to germinate. It’s then dried in a kiln or often roasted. This germination process creates enzymes that convert the grain’s starch into sugar. Depending on how long the roasting process takes, the malt will darken in colour. This is what influences the colour and flavour of the beer.


Now malt is added to heated, purified water and, through a carefully controlled time and temperature process, the malt enzymes break down the starch to sugar, and the complex proteins of the malt break down to simpler nitrogen compounds. The mashing takes place in a large round tank called a “mash mier” or “mash tun”, and requires careful temperature control. Depending on the type of beer desired, the malt is then supplemented by starch from other cereals such as corn, wheat or rice.

4. Lautering

The mash is transferred to a straining or “lautering” vessel, usually cylindrical, with a slotted false bottom two to five cm above the true bottom.
The liquid extract drains through the false bottom and is run off to the brew kettle. This extract, a sugar solution called “wort”, is not yet beer. Water is “sparged” or sprayed through the grains to wash out as much of the extract as possible. The “spent grains” are removed and sold for cattle feed.

5.Boiling & Hopping

Boiling takes place in a huge cauldron-like brew kettle that holds up to 1,000 hectolitres under carefully controlled conditions. The process to obtain the desired extract from the hops usually takes about two hours. The hop resins contribute flavour, aroma and bitterness to the brew. Once the hops have flavoured the brew, they are removed. Sometimes, highly fermentable syrup may be added to the kettle. Undesirable protein substances which have survived the journey from the mash mixer are coagulated, leaving the wort clear.

6.Hop separation & Cooling

After the beer has taken on the flavour of the hops, the wort then goes to the hot wort tank. It’s then cooled, usually in an apparatus called a plate cooler. As the wort and a coolant flow past each other on opposite sides of stainless steel plates, the temperature of the wort drops from boiling to about 50°F to 60°F (a drop of more than 150°F) in a few seconds.


This is where all the magic happens – where the yeast (those living, single-cell fungi) break down the sugar in the wort to carbon dioxide and alcohol. It’s also where a lot of the vital flavour occurs. In all modern breweries, elaborate precautions are taken to ensure that the yeast remains pure and unchanged. Through the use of pure yeast culture plants, a particular beer flavour can be maintained year after year.
During fermentation, which lasts about seven to 10 days, the yeast multiplies until a creamy, frothy head appears on top of the brew. When the fermentation is over, the yeast is removed. At last, we have beer!


For one to three weeks, the beer is stored cold and then filtered once or twice before it’s ready for bottling or “racking” into kegs.


In the bottleshop, machines can fill up to 1,200 bottles per minute. A “crowning” machine integrated with the filler, places caps on the bottles. Emerging from the pasteurizer, the bottles are inspected, labelled, placed in boxes, stacked on pallets and carried by a lift-truck to the warehousing areas to await shipment. Also in the bottle shop may be the canning lines where beer is packaged in cans for shipment.
Packaged beer may be heat pasteurized or micro-filtered, providing a shelf-life of up to six months when properly stored. Draught beer, since it is normally sold and consumed within a few weeks, may not go through this process. The draught beer is placed in sterilized kegs, ready for shipment.

10.Product quality

Beer production is one of the most closely supervised and controlled manufacturing processes in Canada. Apart from brewing company expenditures on research and quality control designed to achieve the highest standards of uniformity and purity in the product, the production of beer is also subject to regular inspection and review by federal and provincial health departments. Substances used in the brewing process are approved by Health Canada.

The study also did not look at income growth worldwide by the end of the century, which might drive an increased demand for meat and beer, likely making the price increases steeper, Mueller said.

The study does emphasize the uneven distribution of global warming’s impacts, with the biggest crop decreases happening in Central America, South America, and Central Africa, and perhaps slight increases in China and the US, where the higher temperatures would make it easier to grow barley than before. Countries with the most expensive beer today, such as Australia and Japan, might not see the biggest price increases, since they might import barley from Asia to make up shortfalls.


SOURCE – Buzzfeed


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